The story below is a winner from our Fiction Fantastic Young Writers Contest, open to all youth in Lane County. For more information on this contest, including how to enter, visit here. Support this program with a donation.
You can purchase this story in the 2018 Winners Anthology, Secret Keepers here.
“The Journey to Devotion” by Anna Masonic, Twin Oaks Elementary
Third Place, Elementary Level, 2018
The Journey to Devotion
Twin Oaks Elementary
Once upon a time, there lived a beautiful girl named Lavelle with lovely blue eyes and bright blond hair. She was very kind, loyal, smart, and curious. She lived in a small cottage with her mother and father. The cottage had a small stream, a garden, and a little orchard. Her room was very small, and in the corner sat a fluffy bed, a desk under the window for doing work, and a small round bowl with a single little goldfish.
It was a few hours before supper and Lavelle’s mother had asked her to go fetch some fruit from the orchard. Her favorite snack being fruit, Lavelle was delighted to go and do as her mother asked.
Once Lavelle climbed the ladder and looked around, she saw an average boy with brown hair, hazel eyes, and freckles standing in front of her.
Quietly, but with confidence, he said, “Hi, my name is Marcus, what is your name?”
Lavelle was frozen with fear. What should she say? After what seemed an eternity she answered, “Oh, my name is Lavelle.”
“I didn’t know there was anyone else around.”
“Yeah, we just moved here a year ago,” Marcus replied.
The two of them just stood there in silence, too shy to say anything.
After a while Lavelle said, “Well I think I should go now. My parents will start getting worried.”
“No, uh, I mean, can’t you at least meet me here tomorrow maybe at noon?” Marcus asked.
“I guess,” said Lavelle, and off she went.
Lavelle climbed down the ladder and fetched her basket of fruits. While on her way home she happened to see a beautiful flower. It had bright yellow petals with a bit of pink and blue on the outside edges. The stem had curly leaves and smelled like a dream. Lavelle plucked the flower with excitement and ran off to home.
Once she was in her house, she set the basket down and ran to her room, grabbing a small clay pot from the kitchen on her way. In her drawer she kept a special vial filled with magical water gifted to Lavelle by her parents. Placing the flower in the clay pot, she filled it with water and added a few drops of the special water.
Excited, Lavelle ran to her parents with a big smile on her face, but when she got there, her parents were not smiling back. They kindly, but strictly, asked her to sit down for dinner. After the meal, her parents told her Queen Tundra was back, along with her right-hand man, Lectro, the dwarf dragon. They were forcing citizens to pay for her kindness and mercies. Those who refused to pay would be punished with the most severe of consequences, like being put in the queen’s magic scepter for not showing appreciation to her. They also told her that Tundra was the self-proclaimed queen of the land. No one knew what had happened to the real king and queen. Even the king’s brother had gone missing.
The first day they saw Tundra, she was dressed in a purple dress and a darker purple robe on a purple horse. You may think purple was her favorite color. She was unusually tall and pretty, but something seemed strange. As time passed, they discovered that under that beauty was an evil, selfish woman set on serving only herself.
Upon hearing this news, Lavelle ran to her room weeping. Quietly a small voice arose from behind the flower. Lavelle stopped crying, got up, and walked over to the flower that she had placed in the pot. To her surprise, there were two little iary’s laying in the flower. A rare, tiny, people-like creature with the ability to see into the near future. You will most often find they appear when trouble is ahead. The two little iary’s lay in the flower, one tiny boy and one tiny girl.
The little voice Lavelle heard was the girl saying, “Please don’t cry.”
Still breathing heavily from her crying, Lavelle then asked, “What are your names?”
The two little creatures introduced themselves, as Penny and G-jay. Then they all decided that they should get a good night’s rest and discuss Tundra in the morning.
The next morning, Lavelle arose and jumped out of bed to greet her new friends. Surprisingly, when she came to the pot, the flower was not there. Luckily, sitting next to it was the bud with a little string and a note attached. The note said, “Dear Lavelle, wear this necklace around your neck always and whenever trouble arises we will come.”
Lavelle gave a small frown, picked up the necklace, and slipped the delicate string over her head. Pulling her hair up to allow the necklace to slide down, she walked down the hall to the kitchen where her mother and father were discussing something, but they stopped talking and made Lavelle some eggs, then sent her out the door to go play.
Lavelle ran out to Marcus’s tree house and climbed up, expecting to be greeted by her new friend, but instead she found a present with writing which read, “To Lavelle, from Marcus.” She unwrapped the gift and found a hand stitched brown bag with traveling gear in it: a compass, a knife, some snacks, and other traveling gear. Lavelle smiled and went off to get Marcus a present, too.
Once she got back, Marcus was there waiting. Lavelle handed him the gift. It was a special tiny ball that had the power to become a little blue troll, able to help in the worst of situations, as he was a fierce warrior. Marcus and Lavelle both thanked each other. Determined to stop Tundra from all her cruelty and destruction to their village, they quickly gathered their things and headed for home to finish stocking up on supplies. At home they gathered blankets, food, and their special gifts, and stuffed them into giant backpacks. Slinging the backpacks over their shoulders, they hugged their parents goodbye because they would miss them during their trip.
On their way out the door, they looked over Lavelle’s new map and found a shortcut through the enchanted forest to get to the queen’s castle, but there were some obstacles that looked dangerous, for instance, Ogres. Determined to defeat the queen, they were willing to do what needed to be done.
Days passed as they traveled. On their third day of traveling, they came to the edge of the forest and took a few minutes to grab a bite to eat and a drink from a nearby stream. Soon they were up on their feet again. Hours passed as they followed the path and took short breaks.
Finally, they came to Ogre territory.
“We should be very careful here because we don’t want to be put into an Ogre stew,” warned Marcus.
Soon night came, and the kids got sleepy, so they started a fire and Lavelle began to cook some local roots in her camp pot. As they prepared for bed, they gathered piles of leaves, took out their blankets and settled in for a good night of sleep. The next morning, both the kids woke up with a startle; they were both tied up hanging from trees over pots, stew pots that is. They both cried “help” but then an Ogre came out from behind a tree and snarled, “The only help you’ll be get’n is into our stomachs.”
Then more Ogres came out from behind trees. Suddenly Marcus remembered his blue troll and shouted, “Come on troll, help!”
The troll jumped out of the backpack and quietly climbed a tree. Grabbing the ropes that Lavelle and Marcus were hanging from, he began to swing them back and forth. Once they were away from the pots, he cut them loose and they both went flinging towards the Ogres. Boom, two of the ogres fell to the ground dazed and confused. The rest of the Ogres looked over with glares and started running after Lavelle and Marcus. The blue troll came crashing down on one of the ogres, knocking him out. Half the Ogres started chasing the tiny blue troll, when suddenly, he unleashed his weapons, throwing a bunch at each ogre and one by one, the Ogres started disappearing by running because of how scared they were.
Once the Ogres were gone, Lavelle, Marcus, and the blue troll were left standing amongst the large trees in the silence of the forest. The blue troll turned back into a ball and Marcus put him back into his backpack. Lavelle and Marcus each took a breath then got back on their journey.
After a short while on the road, Lavelle and Marcus found a tiny little lemming.
In a squeaky little voice it said, “Hello. I’ve lost my way home. Can you help me find my family?”
Lavelle then questioned, “How can we help you?”
“Could you help me look?” the little lemming replied.
After what seemed as hours of searching, they finally found its family.
Then the mother said, “Thank you for bringing us our little boy. I think we should have a big feast. Why don’t you join us?” The lemmings took the kids to an open meadow with a tiny bowl of blueberries.
Finally Marcus commented, “I thought we were going to have a big feast?”
“Oh, we aren’t having a big feast; it’s our pets, the wolves, who will be having the big feast,” giggled one of the lemmings.
Marcus then screamed in his high-pitched girly scream. Suddenly Lavelle’s flower necklace opened up and out came Gi-jay and Penny, who quickly transported the wolves and lemmings to Antarctica. Now that they were safe, Gi-jay and Penny disappeared back into the flower necklace, saying, “Nice scream, Marcus,” as they giggled, and the petals closed around them.
Meanwhile, Tundra and Lectro had been taking lots of money from the local villages. They had also forced people to work for them and built an army of bad creatures. They felt that they were ready for anyone who tried to stop them.
After one more day of traveling Marcus and Lavelle finally arrived at the castle. Ahead of them stood a huge bridge that they had to cross. They started walking, but then Lectro, the “queen’s” right hand man, showed up. Suddenly a cage fell from above them and they were trapped. Marcus grabbed at the bars, but they were electric, and he ended up getting shocked. Lectro, the dwarf dragon, slowly pulled the cage to Tundra’s jail.
Arriving at the jail, he said, “You’ll never get out of this castle and even if you do the queen’s army and I will stop you.”
While Lavelle and Marcus sat in the cold, dark jail, it was not going well with Tundra’s army, “I deserve better than this,” said one of the guards.
“Me, too,” said another guard as more agreed and their frustration grew, and one by one, they all started leaving.
After what seemed an eternity, Lavelle remembered her brown bag and reached inside, grabbing her knife. Carefully she slid it into the lock and, click, she was free. Now to help Marcus. Once they were out, they ran down a maze of the halls until finally, they thought they had found their way out as they crossed a large room towards two large doors.
Suddenly, they heard the words, “Seize them, Lectro, seeeize theeem.”
Looking over, they saw the queen pointing angrily their direction.
“Got it,” Lectro replied.
But when his lightning bolt hit Lavelle’s flower necklace, it caused it to open. Out popped G-jay and Penny, and suddenly a flood of memories started darting back to Lectros’ mind. He remembered how they had once saved his ancestors from an evil overlord. As he was about to shoot another bolt of lightning, he quickly turned and shot it at a pillar.
Slowly Lectro turned toward the queen, when she said, “What’s wrong Lectro? Too scared to take the shot?”
Lectro replied, “How could you treat me so badly after all the things I’ve done for you?”
Then the queen tried to suck Lectro into her scepter but suddenly the iary’s leapt into action; they both used their power to take Tundra’s scepter.
Lavelle picked it up saying, “You have been defeated Tundra.”
At that, Tundra was sucked into the scepter, frozen forever. As the queen was pulled into the scepter every person, animal and being that she had taken was set free. Lectro, Lavelle, and Marcus then returned all the stolen money. To everyone’s surprise Gi-jay and Penny began to grow, becoming full size humans. As they grew, there appeared beautiful garments on each of them, along with golden crowns. They were the rightful king and queen of the land of Devotion. Lectro too began to transform from a squatty dwarf dragon into a handsome prince, brother to the king.
Lavelle and Marcus were given a heroes’ ball to celebrate their bravery and devotion to helping their fellow villagers. Their families would get together often and they became the best of friends. As you are so used to hearing, they all lived happily ever after, except for the evil “queen” of course and it turns out she did get a bit of a happy ending too: she was put in one of the best dungeon rooms decorated just for her, and had plenty of guards that came with it, too.